Therefore, you are henceforth deprived of your honorable offices of Ki-Ki, which I shall now bestow upon these good captains here," and she indicated the good-natured officers who had first captured the prince and Nerle.
The people of Twi eagerly applauded this act, for the captains were more popular with them than the former Ki-Ki; but the blond ones both flushed with humiliation and anger, and said:
"The captains fought against you, even as we did."
"Yet the captains only obeyed your orders," returned the High Ki. "So I hold them blameless."
"And what is to become of us now?" asked the former Ki-Ki.
"You will belong to the common people, and earn your living playing tunes for them to dance by," answered the High Ki. And at this retort every one laughed, so that the handsome youths turned away with twin scowls upon their faces and departed amidst the jeers of the crowd.
"Better hang 'em to a tree, little one," shouted Wul-Takim, in his big voice; "they won't enjoy life much, anyhow."
But the maid shook her pretty head and turned to the prince.
"Will you stay here and help me to rule my kingdom?" she asked.
"I can not do that," replied Prince Marvel, "for I am but a wandering adventurer and must soon continue my travels. But I believe you will be able to rule your people without my help."
"It is not so easy a task," she answered, sighing. "For I am singular and my people are all double."
"Well, let us hold a meeting in your palace," said the prince, "and then we can decide what is best to be done."
So they dismissed the people, who cheered their High Ki enthusiastically, returning quietly to their daily tasks and the gossip that was sure to follow such important events as they had witnessed.
The army of King Terribus and the fifty-nine reformed thieves went to the twin palaces of the Ki and the Ki-Ki and made merry with feasting and songs to celebrate their conquest. And the High Ki, followed by the prince, Nerle, King Terribus and Wul-Takim, as well as by the Ki and the newly-appointed Ki-Ki, mounted the silver steps and passed over the wall to the royal palaces. The green High Ki followed them, still weeping disconsolately.
When they had all reached the throne-room, the High Ki seated herself on one of the beautiful thrones and said:
"By some strange chance, which I am unable to explain, my twin and I have become separated; so that instead of thinking and acting alike, we are now individuals--as are all the strange men who have passed through the hole in the hedge. And, being individuals, we can no longer agree, nor can one of us lawfully rule over the Kingdom of Twi, where all the subjects are twins, thinking and acting in unison."
Said Prince Marvel:
"Your Highness, I alone can explain why you became separated from your twin. By means of a fairy enchantment, which I learned years ago, I worked upon you a spell, which compelled your brain to work independent of your sister's brain. It seems to me that it is better each person should think her own thoughts and live her own life, rather than be yoked to another person and obliged to think and act as a twin, or one-half of a complete whole. And since you are now the one High Ki, and the acknowledged ruler of this country, I will agree to work the same fairy spell on all your people, so that no longer will there be twin minds in all this Land of Twi."
"But all the cows and dogs and horses and other animals are double, as well as the people," suggested the old Ki, blinking their little eyes in amazement at the thought of being forever separated from each other.
"I can also work the spell upon all the twin animals," said the prince, after a moment's hesitation.
"And all our houses are built double, with twin doors and windows and chimneys, to accommodate our twin people," continued the High Ki. "And the trees and flowers--and even the blades of grass--are all double. And our roads are double, and--and everything else is double. I alone, the ruler of this land, am singular!"
Prince Marvel became thoughtful now, for he did not know how to separate trees and flowers, and it would be a tedious task to separate the twin houses.